from the bye-bye dept
Last week we highlighted the ongoing dispute between academic publishing giant Elsevier and the University of California (UC) system. Earlier this year, UC cancelled its contract with Elsevier, after the publishing giant — which gets nearly all of its content and labor for free, but charges insane prices for what is often publicly funded research — refused to lower prices or to work with the UC system on moving to an open access approach. Last week, we covered how Elsevier had emailed a bunch of UC folks with what appeared to be outright lies about the status of negotiations between the two organizations, and UC hit back with some facts to debunk Elsevier.
Perhaps Elsevier is getting antsy because a bunch of UC scientists have sent an open letter to Elsevier, saying they will no longer do editorial work for any Elsevier publications until this dispute gets worked out.
Among the signatories of the letter are Jennifer Doudna, co-inventor of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology, and Elizabeth Backburn, co-recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Once again, we’re left wondering what value Elsevier even provides to the overall ecosystem any more. It doesn’t fund the research. It hands off most reviewing and editing tasks to other academics. And yet, it gets to (a) keep the copyright on the research and (b) charge absolutely ridiculous sums to universities which feel they “must” have access to these publications. And, this is in the age of the internet when “publishing” is literally a button on a webpage. Why does Elsevier even still exist?